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Control your GoPro camera with an Apple Watch

GoPro apple watch

GoPro on Apple Watch

The latest GoPro app works on Apple Watch.

It’s pretty standard these days for high-tech gadgets to offer a companion mobile app, and GoPro cameras are no exception. Pilots can use the GoPro app on an iPhone or iPad to remotely control the camera, which can be a huge help when it’s mounted out of arm’s reach or outside the airplane. The app also makes it possible to change just about any camera setting, start/stop recording and display a large viewfinder on your iPhone or iPad to help line up your shot.

The latest update to the app takes this capability a step further with a dedicated Apple Watch app, allowing you to start/stop recording and display the camera’s viewfinder on the watch face. While this may sound gimmicky at first, we actually found it to be quite useful when using a GoPro camera in the airplane. Here’s how to set it up:

  1. Verify you have the latest version of watchOS installed–go to the General section of the Apple Watch app on your iPhone
  2. Download and install the latest version of the GoPro app on you iPhone, and install it on your Apple Watch
  3. Pair and connect your GoPro camera to your iPhone using Wifi and Bluetooth
  4. Open the GoPro app on your watch

The first thing you’ll see after launching the watch app is a large red circle–this is the record button to start and stop the camera remotely. You can then use the watch’s digital crown (the little wheel on the right side) to cycle through video, photo and time lapse recording modes. Swipe one screen to the right and you’ll see the small real-time viewfinder.

You can now use the Apple Watch as a viewfinder for GoPro cameras.

You can now use the Apple Watch as a viewfinder for GoPro cameras.

We took the Apple Watch and GoPro out to the airplane to try it out, and had a couple observations. First, we found that the most useful feature of the watch app is the ability to start and stop recording. The watch vibrates to confirm the action, which was a nice touch in flight. You can also customize the watch home screen to include the GoPro app record button right on the watch face, making it even easier to find (watchOS 2 now allows you to add third party watch “complications” like this).

While the viewfinder is pretty small on the watch, we still it found it useful to verify shot composition and to make sure the camera was lined up properly. Pilots flying with the GoPro Hero3, Hero4 Session or Hero4 Black models will especially find it useful since these cameras don’t include viewfinders built in to the camera. Yes, you could use your iPad app for the viewfinder as well, but it’s nice to leave that dedicated in flight to your favorite EFB app and use the watch as the primary means to control the camera.

You can check out the full line of GoPro cameras and accessories here, and download the GoPro app free from the app store.

Source: Ipad appsControl your GoPro camera with an Apple Watch

New Southwest Texas Aviation owners seek to continue legacy

JD and Laura Casteel

BOERNE, Texas – Driven by the desire to continue previous owner Russell Stalling’s legacy, JD and Laura Casteel have assumed ownership of Southwest Texas Aviation, with business resuming Jan. 1, 2016.

Southwest Texas Aviation was founded by Stallings in 1985. He became known throughout the aviation community for his support of Mooney owners and for his Mooney STC modifications.

In early 2015, Stallings began visiting with the Casteels about selling the company upon his retirement. After Stallings’ passed away in September, his family finalized the sale.

“Our dream is to build an aviation family business,” JD said. “That is what led us to purchase a company with such strong roots in the aviation community and a history of service and support of aircraft in the U.S. and abroad.”

The Casteels are both A&P mechanics, and JD also holds an Inspection Authorization.

JD and Laura Casteel

JD studied for his A&P license at Gordon Cooper Technology Center in Shawnee, Okla., and graduated in 2002. He then earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Okla. He has more than nine years of A&P experience working for several aviation maintenance companies, including Vantage Plane Plastics in Alva as an aircraft interior installation specialist. For nearly two years, JD has worked as an aviation insurance agent for Falcon Insurance.

Laura began her aviation career in 2007 taking flying lessons and working as an airport assistant manager at the Boerne Stage Airfield in Boerne, Texas. While working at the airport, she earned a degree in statistics from the University of Texas San Antonio. Interning as an aircraft mechanic at the Boerne airport during college, she decided to pursue an A&P license. She attended St. Philips College in San Antonio for aviation maintenance and received an A&P license in 2013. With over three years of aircraft maintenance experience, she has worked for South Texas Aircraft at the Boerne Stage Airfield since earning her A&P rating. Laura earned her Private Pilots License in 2010 and is currently pursuing an instrument flight rating.

“We are excited to move forward with this new endevouer,” JD said. “We have big shoes to fill, but we are ready for the challenges this adventure has in store.”

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comNew Southwest Texas Aviation owners seek to continue legacy

The incentives young aviators need: Fast planes, new friends and good food


I’m awoken on a cool Georgia morning by the sound of a shiny blue beauty buzzing my tent only 50 yards away. Long-time friend and fellow aviator Rocky Driggers enjoys waking us all up with a dawn patrol, whether it is in his pristine V-tail Bonanza or with the grumbling radial of a Stearman.

At 7 a.m. when most people my age are sleeping, we young aviators are waking each other up with high speed passes eager for another day of formation flying, short-field takeoffs and landings, aerobatics, and trading rides to experience new airplanes. These are just a few of the reasons grassroots fly-ins have stolen my heart (and weekends) and I always keep coming back for more.

I have been going to Thomasville Fly-In in Georgia for as long as I can remember. It has always been one of my favorite places because of the cool weather and abundance of airplanes flying around.

Photo Oct 10, 3 41 27 PM

When we were quite young there were plenty of other young kids who loved aviation to interact with, but as the years went by and the kids of Thomasville grew up, more and more found “better” things to do than camp in a Georgia field for the weekend.

In 2007, my freshman year of high school, the number of young people had dropped considerably. It was just me and Rocky, a die-hard supporter of general aviation, Young Eagles, and an annual Thomasville attendee for 22 out of 22 years.

My parents continued to participate every couple of years, but came back with reports that there were not many kids there — they even stopped having the legendary T-ville bonfire!

Photo Feb 14, 3 18 27 PM

I returned in 2012, but there were still only a few plane-crazy young adults attending. I couldn’t understand why there were so few people my age there. Small fly-ins bring the promise of slow-cooked soul food, plane spotting, new friends, rides in airplanes, and community with like-minded people.

I made it my mission to invite as many friends as I could for the next year, and to convince the Thomasville Flying Club to bring back the Saturday night bonfire.

In 2013 we had about a dozen young adults at Thomasville, five of which have families in aviation.

I have my family to thank for many of my friends in the aviation industry. I am a fourth generation aviator whose family has built a close rapport with many aviation families around Florida and the United States. I had known those five since we were young.

It was the first Thomasville for three of them and one of them, Travis Sherman, just attended his third consecutive year and plans to be back in 2016, hopefully with a Super T-6 he has been restoring. It would make his 375 mile trek from Palm Beach, Florida, to Thomasville a lot quicker.


That year I made six new friends, including Phil Herrington, co-founder of the Lakeland Aero Club. We all promised to bring even more people we knew next time. Phil more than kept his word in 2014. The Lakeland Aero Club alone brought up six airplanes and 15 aviators.

I have made an effort to convince friends and even social media strangers to come to aviation events, but I think some of this influx of young aviators at local fly-ins like Thomasville has come about organically.

We’re at the age where we can bring significant others and, more importantly, fly ourselves around. We can bring friends for a weekend of fun, who in turn bring more friends the next year. That is one of the main ways this fly-in has grown. We all make an effort to bring friends from far and wide.

 I saw the opportunity for a great photo at Thomasville when everyone got together for the spot landing contest and I noticed that a quarter of the attendees where between 16 and 30. I took the opportunity and corralled all of the young people I could grab to a better location for a photo. What better place than a newly restored 1953 de Havilland Beaver on Wipline floats? This photo sums up the meaning of these fly-ins in a way words never could: Over 30 young people getting together for a common passion.

This photo sums up the meaning of these fly-ins in a way words never could: Over 30 young people getting together for a common passion.

Social media is considered an afterthought by the aging aviation community, but I’ve found it’s one of the greatest ways to connect with young people who share my passion.

For example, my boyfriend Michael Marco and I met Alain Aguayo and Bobby Breeden via Instagram, even though they both live primarily in Florida, less than two hours from where we live. Alain is an aspiring unlimited aerobatic pilot and instructor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Bobby is four-time consecutive Valdez STOL champion and one of the most capable Alaskan bush pilots flying now. Though we have been flying with each other for years and get together at the large airshows, it was their first time to Thomasville and they each brought a friend with them.

Tim Fonseca, founder of Millennial Wings, flew all the way from Ft. Lauderdale and brought nine young aviators. Derek Sherman, a third generation pilot that I have known since we were toddlers, is a student at Florida State University and he brought his flight team up with seven aviation enthusiasts this year.

Michael, a third generation pilot, piles as many friends as possible into his family’s airplanes on every occasion we can find, to take to aviation events. He’s a FAST formation qualified pilot who brings us together to brief us for each formation flight, an accomplished aerobatic competitor and instructor who enjoys teaching a young pilot the ropes every chance he gets, and as a skilled Alaskan bush pilot that has flown from the wild mountains of Denali to the coastal scenes of the Prince William Sound, he is well equipped to giving advice to young aviators about flying in Alaska.

Photo Oct 10, 5 16 50 PM

Michael’s dad, David Marco, and my dad, Dirk Leeward, generously allow us to take their airplanes out for adventures in Florida as often as the weather cooperates.

November in Central Florida is a prime time to go to grassroots fly-ins. Just this year, there were too many options for small fly-ins during the second week of November to make it to them all. I was aware of six through word of mouth and checking Social Flight, a social event tracker for aviation enthusiasts at SocialFlight.com.

Michael and I took two non-aviation friends in his deHavilland Beaver and our friend Matt Grossberg brought down a Super Decathlon. We met my dad and his friends to form up into a three-ship formation to head down to Lakeland for the Pigs Fly South annual BBQ. After eating BBQ all day, we sure felt like pigs!

The last couple years, in addition to Thomasville, we’ve managed to gather a substantial crowd at the big airshows like SUN ‘n FUN and Oshkosh.

The younger generation is important for the survival of general aviation. There are many sanctioned Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) events to make young people pilots, but not much to keep them flying in a recreational capacity.

Small, local fly-ins like Thomasville allow us to meet and fly with extraordinary young pilots who are FAST certified, aerobatic proficient, STOL champions, or just have sexy warbirds. I could be flying wing to wing with the next president of EAA.

Big airshows have their own positive qualities, but a small grassroots fly-in is the only place where you can go to learn from other pilots and get to experience other planes. The people at these local events are eager to share what they know and encourage a greater participation in general aviation from youths.

Get out there and find one near you!

Special thanks to Travis Sherman and Mathew Grossberg for their guidance in writing my first magazine article and their input on content. They are die-hard grassroots fly-in fans and annual Thomasville Fly-in participants.

Allison just graduated from the University of North Florida with a degree in communications and is pursuing a career in public relations in the automotive or aviation industry. Follow @AllisonLeeward on Instagram to see her daily adventures in aviation.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comThe incentives young aviators need: Fast planes, new friends and good food

Picture of the day: Landing above the clouds

Darin Scheer

Darin Scheer of Farson, Wyo., sent in this photo, which was also featured in the Dec. 20 print issue of General Aviation News, which he titled “Ridgetop Landing Above Clouds.”

Darin Scheer

He tells the story of the photo: “I went flying one morning, only to find my destination socked in by a low cloud layer. I spotted this ridge sticking up above the layer, and was treated to an incredible backcountry memory in my Piper PA-12-150.”

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comPicture of the day: Landing above the clouds

Video: Camera crew targets Kitfox flight to showcase capabilities


Incline Dynamic Outlet (IDO) “leases and operates the worlds smallest, most technologically advanced gyro-stabilized camera platforms”. To showcase their capabilities, IDO’s Nathan Garofalos filmed Trent Palmer flying his Kitfox from a Eurocopter AS350 near Minden, Nevada.

Can there be a better target to showcase a products capabilities? We think not.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comVideo: Camera crew targets Kitfox flight to showcase capabilities

Sporty’s E6B app updated with new multitasking features

E6B multitask

Sporty's E6B app performs 22 aviation functions, 20 conversions, features a weight and balance computer and complete timer functions.

Sporty’s E6B app performs 22 aviation functions, 20 conversions, features a weight and balance computer and complete timer functions.

Apple introduced a collection of new multitasking capabilities as part of the recent iOS 9 update in an effort to increase the iPad’s utility. When using the newer-generation iPads, you now have the opportunity to run two apps simultaneously in a split-screen layout.

The catch is that while most of Apple’s native apps (Safari, Calendar, Mail, etc.) support this new multitasking in iOS 9, all third-party apps need to be updated to include this feature.

Unfortunately there aren’t many aviation apps out that support the new iOS 9 multitasking features yet, probably due to the fact that it takes a significant amount of work to add this capability. Sporty’s however released a new version of its popular E6B flight computer app yesterday that takes full advantage of these multitasking features.

An E6B app is the perfect candidate for iPad multitasking. It’s the type of app that you don’t need to have open in the forefront at all times, but is nice to be able to quickly access without leaving your primary EFB app. Sporty’s E6B was designed with that concept in mind; here’s a review of what’s new in the latest version.

Slide over multitasking

The first type of multitasking, which we’ll refer to as “slide over” multitasking, requires an iPad Mini 2, 3 or 4, iPad Air 1 or 2, or the new iPad Pro. This allows you to launch a second app without having to close out the current app you’re currently using.

Let’s say you were using ForeFlight while on a cross-country flight and wanted to calculate how far out you should begin a descent to arrive at your destination using a comfortable 500 fpm descent rate. Slide your finger over from the right side of the screen to reveal a vertical column of apps (only those that support multitasking will be displayed).


Select E6B from the list, and the app will display right on top of ForeFlight on the right 1/3 of the screen. Tap “Functions” from the main menu, and select “Top of Descent” to perform that calculation. When finished swipe the inset back towards the right side of the screen to resume using ForeFlight.


Split screen multitasking

Split screen multitasking adds even more utility by allowing you to run two separate apps on the iPad screen at the same time. Since this is fairly processor intensive, it is only supported on the newest iPad models: iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro. Also both apps must support this multitasking feature, which is really the bigger limitation for pilots since there are very few aviation apps that have been updated to do this.

With that being said, there are still several cases where you’ll find it useful to use the E6B side by side with one of Apple’s native apps. Say you were using an online flight planner in the Safari web browser and needed to perform a quick true airspeed calculation during preflight planning. Just like with the slide over multitasking, slide your finger from the right side of the screen and select E6B from the list of apps.


Now just to the left of the separation line between the Safari and E6B apps you’ll see a thin white vertical button–hold down on this with your finger and slide it to the middle of the screen. This will activate the split-screen mode and allow you to use both apps simultaneously. You can also slide the mid-screen divider bar about 2/3 of the way to the right side of the screen, which will split the layout so that the left app occupies about 70% of the screen and 30% for the right app.

What else is new in the E6B app

E6B iphone watchThe latest version of Sporty’s E6B also includes several other updates for the iPhone and Apple Watch versions of the app. First the app was redesigned with a clean new interface that is optimized for the larger screens found on the iPhone 6 and 6+. Also users who have updated their Apple Watch to watchOS 2 will notice that the app runs natively on the watch now, meaning the watch doesn’t have to be tethered to your iPhone to use the app.

Sporty’s E6B app includes 22 aviation functions, 20 conversions and complete timer  and time zone tracking features. It takes all the core functions of the popular Electronic E6B Flight Computer and adds improved functionality, a redesigned mobile interface and a new weight & balance calculator.

Check out the latest version of Sporty’s E6B app in the app store: Sporty’s E6B Flight Computer for iPad, iPhone and Apple Watch.

Source: Ipad appsSporty’s E6B app updated with new multitasking features

Aerovie app grows up – 4 features to know about

what's new Aerovie

Aerovie Reports began as a fairly niche app, mostly known as a way to submit and review PIREPs. In the past 6 months, though, the app has grown into much more and can now be considered a full electronic flight bag (EFB) app. Its strong point is weather, both preflight and in-flight; here are four unique features to know about.

1. Simulated reflectivity. One of Aerovie Reports’ best features is its wide variety of weather products, and radar is no exception. In addition to the basics, the app offers base reflectivity, composite reflectivity (showing the strongest echo throughout all tilt angles), 24-hour precipitation and “HRRR Simulated Composite” and “NAM Simulated Composite.” These last two images are often called “forecast radar,” and that’s essentially what they are: numerical model outputs that try to predict the precipitation for the next one to three days. It’s not exact, but it’s a helpful planning tool, and it’s easy to use in Aerovie Reports.

AV predictive radar

2. Icing graphics overlay. The CIP and FIP products are some of the most useful forecasts in aviation, especially for piston pilots who are constantly worried about in-flight icing. They show the forecast probability and severity of in-flight icing, at different altitudes and at different times in the future. It has been refined to the point where it’s an extremely accurate forecast (in our experience). While the static charts are fine, Aerovie Reports allows pilots to overlay these charts right on the main moving map page. This is ideal for planning your route, and it’s easy to move forward and backwards through the forecast period, as well as choosing different altitudes.

AV ice

3. Skew-T and meteograms. METARs and TAFs are essential weather products for any pilot, offering current and forecast conditions at a particular station. But sometimes it’s helpful to dive a little deeper, and that’s where a Skew-t Log-p diagram and a meteogram come in handy. These are definitely geeky weather products, but with a little training they reveal information you really can’t find anywhere else. In Aerovie Reports, simply tap on an airport, then choose from SKEWT, METEOGRAM or GFS MOS.

AV meteogram

4. Vertical weather forecast. Weather is obviously a three dimensional issue for pilots, and here’s where Aerovie Reports’ latest feature really comes in handy. First, plan a route using the FPL button at the top of the page. If adverse conditions are forecast, you’ll see color-coded alerts at the bottom of the flight plan page. Tap on these (e.g., ICE in red) and you’ll see a pop-up warning.

AV popup

Tapping on “Open Vertical Weather Profile” will display a new window at the bottom of the app. Here, you can see estimated cloud levels, freezing level, precipitation and PIREPs. Tap on a PIREP for complete details, or on an airport for current/forecast conditions. There’s a lot of information here, but it’s well presented. As always, remember that a lot of this data is based on forecasts, not actual conditions. That means it should be treated with a skeptical eye, but it’s far better than guessing.

AV popup METAR

Aerovie Reports does offer more than just weather, with detailed airport information, instrument approach plates, ATC suggested routes and flight plan filing. It’s not quite as full-featured as ForeFlight or Garmin Pilot, but it’s making rapid progress. There’s also a great app for Apple Watch – although it tries to do a little too much sometimes, it is packed with information.

Aerovie Reports is free to download on the App Store. An annual subscription costs $69/year.

Source: Ipad appsAerovie app grows up – 4 features to know about

Picture of the day: Continuing the family legacy


Rafael Cortes sent in this photo, which he titled: “That proud moment when your daughter has the controls of the airplane.”


He explains: “My daughter was 11 years old on this flight a few months ago. I was about the same age when my elder brother allowed me to take the controls of the Cessna 172 he used to fly, so I know exactly what my daughter felt when she took that stick, when she turned the airplane for the first time, when she climbed and descended at her will — a moment we will both cherish and remember forever.”

The airplane is a Rans S12, and the flight is over El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, he added.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comPicture of the day: Continuing the family legacy